How To Keep A New Year’s Resolution
Make this year the year for a successful New Year’s resolution! A little front-work and planning will keep one motivated all year. Everyone has seen the ‘January gym phenomenon’, when memberships rise and people seem to appear from hibernation; only to see it return to normal crowd by mid-February.
Statistics vary, but only about 64% of adults that make a New Year’s resolution continue with it beyond the first month and 97% fail before the years end; however, armed with a little drive and willingness to plan – anyone can ensure a successful change for the better. First, set a goal, then plan it, and then “make it automatic”!
1. How to Set a Goal for the New Year
Mostly everyone has read or heard advice on setting goals. Generally, they are advised to start small with easy goals and to work up to ‘real’ goals. A more valuable approach is to approach a goal initially like a dream. Keith Ferrazzi wrote in his book “Who’s Got Your Back”, “The only difference between a dream and a goal, is that a goal is put into writing.” Having a great desire to achieve a goal will provide the conviction to see it through. This alone makes dreaming first invaluable and provides a huge advantage for the goal setter by setting a goal they truly want to achieve. First dream, then proceed to make that dream a task – a specific, measurable, and attainable goal.
The number one New Year’s resolution is to ‘workout more,’ closely followed by ‘eating better.’ While these are terrific goals – they lack any specifics and allow for several scapegoats. Define a dream specifically before making it a goal. Perhaps one may want to workout more, but more specifically they want to lose 25 lbs by walking three times a week for 20 minutes. Now the dream is a goal. It is now a specific, measurable, and attainable task.
2. Set a Goal Timeline
The number one reasons that a New Year’s resolution fail are time, priority, and accountability. Setting a timeline for a goal, tracking it, and making it accountable will guarantee a follow-through. Since the goal is specific, you can easily set a timeline detailing measurable progress over:
- one month
- three months
- nine months
- one year
This system of check-ins for goal progress should be scheduled on a calendar, PDA, or planner. Now suddenly the goal is scheduled with a sense of expectation, priority, and accountability.
3. Make it Automatic
To avert one from losing track of their goal due to time constraints (or other excuses), they should ‘make it automatic’. This can be more easily achieved with some goals than others. For example, the goal of saving $100 a month for a vacation can be done by opening a savings account and having the money automatically debited from an existing checking account once a month automatically.
For the more challenging goals, making it automatic may take some initiative; perhaps thinking outside the box for ways to assure a goal’s success. One of the best ways for many is to simply schedule time for that goal. Back to the example working out more; by scheduling three walks a week in a calendar – the goal is turned into an event. Suddenly, the goal just became a priority. Setting a goal as a task or event to be done that day and making it not any more flexible than anything else on one’s agenda can have terrific results.
Regardless of the method used, it is important to find a way to ‘make it automatic.’ There are only three steps to successfully keeping a New Year’s resolution – each as important as the next.